MLS suspends Galaxy’s Derrick Williams additional five games for ‘serious foul play’

LA Galaxy defender Derrick Williams (3) plays during the first half of an MLS soccer match.
Galaxy defender Derrick Williams plays during the first half of an MLS soccer match.
(Associated Press)

Galaxy defender Derrick Williams has been suspended for five additional games by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for “serious foul play” in the first half of the team’s May 22 game in Portland.

Williams was given a straight red card and was forced to sit one game for his late, reckless challenge on the Timbers’ Andy Polo in the closing minutes of the first half of Portland’s 3-0 win. Polo sustained a ruptured right quadriceps and a torn meniscus on the play and will be out the rest of the season. He also will miss Peru’s World Cup qualifiers this year.

The six-game suspension is the longest in Galaxy history. Williams also was fined an undisclosed amount.


“As he broke to go to the tackle, he realized he was a lot closer to the player then he thought or anticipated and when he went down. He knew he couldn’t get out of it,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said of the play. “He knew it was going to be bad. It’s never a situation that anyone wants to be in.

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June 1, 2021

“He’s not the first the guy and he will probably not be the last, but he feels bad for the player on the other side, as we all do. It’s an awful scenario.”

Williams, who has reached out to Polo more than once since the play, has been the target of death threats and racial slurs on social media.

Moments before the tackle Williams, an Irish international making just his fourth MLS start, had collided with his goalkeeper, Jonathan Bond, and struck his head when he fell hard to the artificial turf, raising questions as to whether he was still a bit groggy when he mistimed his tackle. But Vanney said Williams was checked out on the sideline and “there were no concerns of a concussion.”

The Galaxy (5-2-0) return from a three-week international break June 19 against the Seattle Sounders. Williams also will miss games with Vancouver, San Jose, Sporting Kansas City and FC Dallas before being cleared to return July 17.

In the meantime, the Galaxy could use Séga Coulibaly and second-year defender Nick DePuy in place of Williams at center back.